Darren Woodson speaks about football a lot like he played safety for 12 years for the Dallas Cowboys. Straight forward and hard hitting. Recently he called out the Cowboys defense when he stated they, “are garbage at tackling”. ARTICLE
He added, “they won’t hit a soul.” OUCH. That verbal shot is like one of those hits Woodson laid on wide receivers coming across the middle of the field…..back in the day when you could do that without a flag, a fine, and being forced to send a letter of apology to the player you hit.
Woodson didn’t stop with the Cowboys either, while he was at it, he also called out the Packers for missing tackles like Mike Jenkins missing OTAs.
I like Darren Woodson and when he speaks I tend to listen. His accomplishments on the field speak for themselves, five pro bowls and three All-Pro teams. One of the best safeties in the NFL ever. The Cowboys could sure use a safety like Woodson these days. Solid run defender and the ability to cover the slot WR. It gave Dallas a huge advantage on defense having this guy.
In college, Woodson was a walk on LB at Arizona State and coached by ASU LB coach Lovie Smith (Bears coach now). Dallas converted him to safety and he seemed made for the position. No one is going to say that Woodson refused to come up and tackle a running back. He would bring the proverbial wood when he tackled!
His statement however about the Cowboys tackling is painting with a broad brush as many of the Cowboys defenders are actually pretty sure tacklers. We must assume that Woodson was referring to the old 2011 “whipping boy”, the secondary.
It’s not difficult to find examples of CB Mike Jenkins whiffing on a tackle or CB Terrance Newman becoming a human hurdle for a receiver to leap over. So point taken Mr. Woodson.
But it got me wondering just who was the worst tackling NFL team in 2011 and where did the Cowboys rank? Pro Football Focus tracks such things and I found their rankings through week 11 of the 2011 season. (Not the final rankings for the year)
Here are the rankings of the top 10 NFL teams with the most missed tackles:
NOTE: Being ranked first is a bad thing here. Like a state being ranked first in illiteracy.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2. Philadelphia Eagles
3. Carolina Panthers
4. Detroit Lions
5. New Orleans Saints
6. Miami Dolphins
7. Green Bay Packers
8. Atlanta Falcons
9. Indianapolis Colts
10. Tennessee Titans
Woodson should have been calling out the Eagles for missed tackles. Their secondary performed poorly last year and kept them out of the playoffs. He appears right about the Packers who made the top 10.
But what about the Cowboys? Well they were actually ranked as one of the best tackling teams all the way down at 31 in missing tackles. Only the 49ers were better at tackling as a team than Dallas. When you focus on the Cowboys secondary that is surprising but the Cowboys overall as a team, were pretty good tacklers.
The problem last year was getting the Dallas secondary to be even close enough to a WR to attempt a tackle. Getting “posterized” by a WR doesn’t count as an attempted tackle….